No one really knows where the urban myth came from, but around the 1980s there was this whisper passing through all wedding communities that throwing rice had disastrous consequences on opportunistic pigeons that flew in after the party.

Someone somewhere convinced everyone that these poor birds’ stomachs would explode due to undigested starch and so the tradition of throwing rice at the happily wedded couple as they exited the church/temple slowly died out.

Recent evidence has demonstrated that pigeons don’t actually suffer from eating the uncooked rice left behind after a wedding, but this information didn’t come out before many crafty people all around the world came out with some truly creative and festive alternatives to the traditional rice-throwing.

This also applies if you have a super frugal mom who can’t bear to see all that perfectly good rice being wasted.


1.  Pom-poms

My favorite alternate to rice has to be the pom-poms.  Gather all the little cousins, aunties, and random relatives to sit down and turn some craft yarn into lovely, color-themed pom-poms that guests can toss at the couple and save as a souvenir.

DIY time: a few weeks (working by yourself), a few days (working with a loyal crew of yarn-wrappers)

DIY cost: $20-40 in yarn to make 1000 balls.


Word of caution with the pom-poms, do pick them up after throwing them. They are not biodegradable, and you don’t want any unsuspecting little animal eating it nor the city fining you for littering!

2. Bubbles

Possibly the sweetest and most summery option is the bubbles.  Arm each guest with a party-favor bottle of bubbles (extra DIY points if you put the couple’s names on the bottle wrapper) and let them blow the happy couple on to a wonderful honeymoon and fantastic life together.

Cost estimate: $1-2 per bottle (plus extra for decoration)


3.  Glitter

Glitter is a cheap and easy option for a rice alternative, but be warned: GLTTER GETS EVERYWHERE.  So if you don’t want your guests covered in glitter or if you don’t want it to fly into anyone’s eyes, you might want to try something else.  That being said, glitter will give you some absolutely gorgeous pictures and will invariably lead to the occasional mood-lifting glitter fight.

DIY cost: buy in bulk to cut costs (varies from size to size and store to store)


4. Various Alternatives to Confetti

This is where crafters have gotten super creative.  You can do heart cutouts, sugar sprinkles, real confetti, even biodegradable confetti.  There are so many alternatives out there, any cursory look on Pinterest will bring up hundreds of results.  It’s easy to personalize (much more than rice) and can look so pretty.

DIY cost: varies from seller to seller, but is practically nothing if you cut it out yourself


5. Lavender/Dried flowers/Rose Petals

Another sort of biodegradable confetti, dried flowers can add a very special scented touch to the seeing-off of the couple.  Imagine every gust tossing up a handful of lavender or rose petals, can’t you already just smell it in the air?  Now imagine being sent off with that – your memories of your wedding day will be so tied into the flowers you choose that you’ll remember how giddy and excited you were on your wedding day every time you get a whiff of lavender soap or rose-scented tea.

DIY time: weeks to dry flower buds

DIY cost: probably too expensive to buy all the flowers needed, but a florist should be able to give you a good price


6. Birdseed

Consider this the perfect alternative to rice – there’s no way you’re going to hurt pigeons or any other birds by using actual birdseed.  Do something charitable with your wedding day by feeding the local bird population.  Added bonus: for all the seeds not eaten, your seeds will grow a wildflower or two.

You can buy tons of birdseed from your local hardware store, so all that’s missing is the cute carrying sack

DIY cost:  $2-3 per bag of seed



7. Paper planes

This idea looks like so much fun – hand out paper for all your guests to try their hand at folding a paper plane to shoot off as you and your groom exit.  Print pictures, best wishes, and blessings on the paper and then let them fly!  As creative as this one is, beware of little kids who don’t know their own strength and can’t exactly aim.

The ones pictured below double as place cards, how adorable is that?!

DIY cost: depends on the craft store/printer


All of these ideas are super cute and definitely non-pigeon-harming, but be careful to clean up after otherwise you might end up with a real problem (like a ticket for littering!).